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The Truth about Boric Acid

Written by Carrie Murphy, Doula Oct 07, 2022

Boric Acid natural alternative - woman walking in a sunflower field - FemiClear

Boric acid is a common over-the-counter solution to balance vaginal yeast and bacteria, and relieve symptoms associated with. Boric acid has been used for over a century to address vaginal infections—but it’s important to understand the very real limitations of this product when used for vaginal health concerns.

What Is Boric Acid? 

Boric acid is a white, water-soluble compound made up of boron, oxygen, and hydrogen. It’s considered a caustic chemical, which means that if it gets in contact with your skin, it may cause irritation and injury. In addition, it becomes harmful if swallowed or inhaled in large quantities.

Nonetheless, boric acid is still commonly used in household products, as well as some personal care products. In the United States, there are over five hundred products being sold that contain boric acid, including laundry detergents, household cleaners, fertilizers, pest-control products and products meant to treat vaginal conditions.

Here’s what you should know about using boric acid for vaginal health.

Why Is Boric Acid Used for Bacterial Vaginosis? 

In its natural form, boric acid has both antifungal and antiviral properties, which is likely why boric acid suppositories became a popular product for bacterial vaginosis. It has been used for over 100 years to help fight various vaginal infections, including both bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.

Research on Boric Acid and Bacterial Vaginosis 

There is somewhat limited research of boric acid and bacterial vaginosis, despite its popularity as a product. A 2019 retrospective

Some other This study evaluated 58 participants who used boric acid vaginal suppositories along with The study found that the treatment had an 88% cure rate within seven weeks. At 12 weeks, this combination treatment had a 92% cure rate.

We get it—you’re probably thinking, “Wow, boric acid sounds great! Sign me up!” However, more research is required to determine effectiveness and safety. 

Things seem promising, but there’s still a lot for researchers to learn about this option for BV relief. The evidence so far suggests that it may be a reasonable option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.

Does Boric Acid Restore pH balance?

You’re likely already aware that bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. When this happens, the pH balance is also thrown off and causes an overgrowth of bacteria (often, the overgrowth is of a bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis). Typically, when the vagina is healthy, it’s naturally an acidic environment, allowing it to maintain an optimal pH level and fend off various pathogens. But unfortunately, when an infection is present, the vagina requires a little help to restore its pH levels.

Because boric acid is an acid with anti-microbial properties, it can possibly help restore the vagina’s pH levels. Still, there’s little evidence to support this claim and it's ultimately unclear how boric acid can affect vaginal pH (if it can at all).

How To Use Boric Acid to Treat BV

If you were to try a boric acid suppository, you’d have to insert it into your vagina and then allow it to dissolve for 4-12 hours.  Different brands have different directions for use, but the course of treatment is typically 7-14 days.

Do Doctors Recommend Boric Acid Suppositories?

Most healthcare providers do not recommend boric acid for treatment of BV based on the lack of evidence. Boric acid is not to be used during pregnancy.

 

“I’m not in the boric acid camp,” Dr. Lauren Streicher, MD says in a recent self.com article. “You’re looking at failure rates of up to 50% in some studies.”

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, your doctor or midwife will likely give you a prescription for antibiotics like metronidazole or clindamycin. Some antibiotics are taken orally, and others are available as a cream or gel that you insert directly into the vagina. If you’re someone that experiences recurrent bacterial vaginosis, your medical provider may suggest another round of antibiotics.

What Are the Side Effects of Boric Acid Suppositories? 

Some common side effects of boric acid are: 

  • A burning sensation
  • Hives
  • Watery vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discomfort and irritation

Boric acid can be toxic if ingested, so it’s important to avoid oral sex during the course of vaginal use. It makes sense to avoid penetrative sex, too (whether with a penis or a sex toy).

So, Are Boric Acid Suppositories Safe For BV? 

Boric acid can be an effective supportive product to help balance the vaginal flora. Antibiotics are the standard of care for BV and it seems that boric acid might be best used in combination with antibiotics or for maintenance. Although boric acid vaginal suppositories are available to be purchased without a prescription and are relatively inexpensive, you should consider contacting your medical provider before use. Your provider can provide guidance on dosage, length of treatment, and more.

If you’re looking for an effective over-counter product for bacterial vaginosis, FemiClear BV Symptoms, is our solution that has not only been lab-tested but also consumer-tested. This two-day dose, fast-acting, easy-to-use product tackles troublesome symptoms like annoying itchiness, fishy odors, and excess discharge.

With just 2 doses, 91% of users reported that their bacterial vaginosis symptoms were eliminated** after using FemiClear for BV Symptoms. If you need relief from bacterial vaginosis symptoms, try a product that kills 99.9% of the primary bacteria causing BV with natural and organic ingredients like thymol (a powerful plant-derived antimicrobial).

 

Can Boric Acid Be Used for Herpes? 

 

You may be wondering—if people use it for bacterial vaginosis, can boric acid also be used for genital herpes? After all, herpes is another genital condition. Although boric acid does have some antiviral properties, very little research has been done on how it affects herpes viruses. One small study in 1979 indicated that boric acid could be a useful antiherpetic (anti-herpes) agent. However, data is extremely limited—so it’s probably not a good idea to use boric acid as a suppository (or in any other form) for genital herpes.  This is especially true because boric acid could beis toxic if it comes into contact with an open wound—and often, during an HSV-2 outbreak, the sores you get are open and weepy.  

 

For an organic option to address a herpes outbreak, try FemiClear’s line of herpes symptom relief products, which are made with all-natural and organic ingredients, and designed to soothe symptoms without harsh or irritating ingredients. We also offer daily support products like a Lysine & Lemon Balm wash and Immunity & Stress Support Drink Mix with L-Lysine, which can help support your body’s overall immunity.  

 

 

Claims based on clinical and/or in vitro laboratory (non-human/non-animal) studies, and traditional homeopathic practice (not accepted clinical medical evidence); not FDA evaluated.

*An independent accredited lab performed an in vitro (non-human/non-animal) time-kill study to measure the amount Gardnerella Vaginalis that was killed. An overgrowth of Gardnerella Vaginalis, can cause a bacterial vaginosis (BV) infection, but might not be the only cause. Data on file.

**As self-reported in a comprehensive IRB-approved study of >100 women. Individual results may vary. Data on file.

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